TV is doomed. No, not television as it is or will become. Change happens. Television as we knew it is doomed. Despite Google, Sling TV, Netflix, and other streaming video services which provide a new age, higher quality version of cable TV, circa 1989, TV has become a fragmented mess of content.
Mess? People watch YouTube more than network or cable television. What does that say? YouTube is a jumbled pile of video content which has altered how humanity views itself. Gone are the standard network television shows which had everyone talking the next day. In their place we have content on demand; often short and meaningless, mostly devoured on mobile devices, here for the moment, never to be viewed again.
Is it any wonder that Apple does not yet have a streaming TV service to match Google’s YouTube TV or any of a dozen or so similar products? The very nature of what we consider television has changed, and I’m afraid this fragmentation is not for the better.
Apple has ventured into the content business and bankrolled more than a billion dollars in feature shows, somewhat Disneyesque in nature, but little more than just another pile of videos to be viewed by customers in their silos. Yes, our favorite Mac maker and purveyor of fine iPhones makes its money the old fashioned way– hardware– but its clear that those massive profits can be used by the company to make the brand sticky.
Watch or listen to Apple content for free on any Apple device.
Netflix plans to introduce nearly 60 new original shows and movies this year, and added another layer of debt to finance even more. Way back in the days of yesteryear we watched television shows when they aired, then again in reruns, and now on demand.
They say that nothing improves without change, so how can Apple improve what has happened to television? More fragmentation. More original shows and movies. Yet another distribution medium, yes, but another way to keep hardware customers glued to the Apple ecosystem.
I’m not judging. It’s the way of the world. Every brand wants to hold onto their customers and gain someone else’s customers however possible.
My fear is clear.
There is so much fragmentation going on in the world today has will it be possible to pull us together as a species? Fragmented TV won’t help. The information age was supposed to turn the world into a village. It has. A village of squabbling and contrarian tribes who can’t get along because we have so many forces pulling us apart.
Fragmented television in the 21st century is just one of many. Apple cannot make it better.